Information for importers - illegal logging

​​​​​​​​​Am I affected by the illegal logging laws?

If you have a business that imports timber or timber products into Australia, the illegal logging laws affect you. You need to be aware of your responsibilities.

What do I need to do?

The Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012 came into operation in November 2012. Under the Act, it is now a criminal offence to intentionally, knowingly or recklessly import illegally logged timber or timber products into Australia. This prohibition applies to all imported timber and timber products.

This means that if you are importing timber or timber products into Australia and you receive information that it was illegally logged, or you have reason to suspect it was illegally logged, or you think that there is a significant risk that it was illegally logged, you should not import that timber.

If you do import that timber and it is later found that it was illegally logged, you could face significant penalties, including imprisonment and heavy fines (AUD$85,000 for an individual or AUD$425,000 for a corporation).

Requirements from 30 November 2014

The second element of the illegal logging laws, as outlined in the Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulation 2012, came into operation on 30 November 2014.

If you import certain timber or timber productsPDF icon PDF [404 KB] Word [1.8 MB] into Australia (as defined in the regulations) you will need to assess and manage the risk that they have been illegally logged. This is known as carrying out ‘due diligence’.

As an importer, you will also be asked to make a declaration to Customs about your compliance with the due diligence requirements. This will be in the form of a Community Protection Question PDF icon PDF [412 KB] Word [1.7 MB] asked as part of the import declaration process.

Due diligence can be summarised as a four-step process:

  • Step 1. gathering information about the timber or timber product you are importing
  • Step 2. if appropriate, using a Timber Legality Framework PDF icon PDF [721 KB] Word [2.7 MB] or Country Specific Guideline PDF icon PDF [669 KB] Word [2.4 MB] to help inform your decision making
  • Step 3. assessing the risk the timber or timber product you are importing has been illegally logged
  • Step 4. where necessary, undertaking extra steps to reduce the risk the timber you are importing has been illegally logged.

The due diligence requirements are not designed to be a significant burden on your business. In most cases, we expect that you should be able to rely on existing or modified systems and practices to comply with the new requirements.

More detailed guidance on the due diligence process can be found in the Due diligence – Guidance for importer PDF icon PDF [765 KB] Word [2.6 MB] ] document.

Where can I find more information?

The department is here to help you comply with the illegal logging laws.

An overview of your key responsibilities as a timber importer under the illegal logging laws can be found in the Information for importers PDF icon PDF [246 KB] Word [2 MB] factsheet.

Country Specific Guidelines PDF icon PDF [669 KB] Word [2.4 MB] will help you understand the legal frameworks for harvesting timber in those countries. The guidelines can assist you in carrying out your due diligence obligations. Further information about Country Specific Guidelines, can be found on the Further information and resources page.

The department has worked with industry to develop a range of education and guidance materials. The Timber Development Association, with funding from the Australian Government and supported by the Australian timber products industry, has developed a range of tools and guidance that provide one way of satisfying the new due diligence requirements. These are freely available from Timber Due Diligence​.

If you need further information on how the laws operate and whether they affect your business, you can contact the department via:               

  • phone during business hours (8.30am to 5.30pm) on 1800 657 313 or if outside of Australia +61 2 6272 3933
  • email ​illegal logging 
  • subscribe to the illegal logging mailing list​  to stay informed of the release of any new information or guidance materials or any upcoming information events

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​​​​Translated fact sheets

Available in the following languages:

  • Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese
    Korean, Spanish, Thai, Vietnamese

Further information and resources

Fact sheets​​

Country s​pecific guide​​lines

Canada

Finland

Indonesia

Italy

Malaysia

New Zealand

Papua New Guinea

Solomon Islands

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